June 16, 2021 5:30:45 am
Days after Shiromani Akali Dal and the BSP announced their alliance in Punjab, both parties led a joint protest in Mohali forcing the police to use water cannons to prevent their leaders from proceeding to gherao CM Amarinder Singh’s residence near Siswan T-point. Police unleashed water cannons when protesters tried break past the second layer of barricades.
Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and BSP’s Punjab chief Jasvir Singh Garhi were among those detained by police, said Mohali SSP Satinder Singh, who was present at the protest site. Both leaders, along with several others including former minister Bikram Majithia, were taken to Kurali Sadar police station, only to be let off later. Subsequently, police booked 20 leaders by name and 300 unknown persons under Sections 188 (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of IPC and provisions of the Disaster Management Act, at Mullanpur police station.
Those booked by name included SAD’s Sukhbir Badal, Bikram Majithia, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Hira Singh Ghabria, Gulzar Singh Ranike, and BSP’s Jasvir Garhi and Nachhatar Singh.
During the protest, slogans were raised against the Congress government over several issues including alleged irregularities in the purchase of ‘Fateh kits’ and the alleged diversion of Covid-19 vaccines to private hospitals.
Turbans of a number of leaders came off as police used water cannons after the protestors broke first layer of barricading near Siswan T point and tried to go past the second and third layer of barricading in their attempt to gherao private residence of the CM, located on a detour stretch on Kurali-Baddi road.
The protest, which began as a sit-in, was addressed by SAD, BSP leaders including Sukhbir and Garhi. It was after these fiery speeches that protesters started marching towards CM’s residence and faced water cannons at around 2 pm.
Moments before the police action, Sukhbir declared: “Asin mukh mantri nu odhe ghar vichon kadhan chale haan (we are going to take Chief Minister out of his residence)..In four and a half years of his rule, CM neither went to his official residence, nor to office..Thousands died due to disease… no medicine, no doctors were made available.”
Alleging a scam in vaccines and Fateh kits’ procurement, and in purchase of medicines and other equipment for Covid patients, Sukhbir, while pointing to Assembly elections in the state next year, said that the CM “will have to wake up else people of Punjab will wake him up in next six months and force him out of his palace”.
Sukhbir also lashed out Cabinet colleagues of Amarinder Singh and said that all concerned ministers would be held accountable and money recovered from them when the SAD-BSP forms government in the state.
Punjab BSP chief Jasvir Singh Garhi hit out Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu for his alleged casteist remarks relating to allotment of Anandpur Sahib and Chamkaur Sahib seats to Bahujan Samaj Party. “It is not Bittu, but mentality of Congress….I think this is mentality of Amarinder Singh, Sonia Gandhi and of entire Congress,” said Garhi, adding that BSP legal cell had lodged a complaint against Bittu in Bathinda.
Garhi also said that he had “sent a defamation notice” to Bittu for alleging that the BSP supremo Mayawati had struck a deal of Rs 200 crore for an alliance with BSP.
Lashing out at the Congress, Garhi said, “Sikhs constituted 60 per cent of the population and Dalits 33 to 34 percent of the population. But both Sikhs and Dalits were subjected to oppression.”
He claimed that SAD-BSP alliance would “now crush the Congress in the forthcoming elections”.
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